Ethnic pride is a positive feeling of being a member of one or more ethnic groups. As a component of ethnic identity, ethnic pride includes an appreciation and understanding of one’s culture and history. Ethnic pride does not involve being arrogant, racist, or ethnocentric. Instead, ethnic pride, or pride in general, can be considered a source of self-respect and dignity. Ethnocentrism and racism, on the other hand, refer to discriminating against people because of their ethnicity and believing in the superiority of one ethnic group over another ethnic group.
For some individuals and cultures, having a high degree of ethnic pride is discouraged, and acculturation and assimilation are instead emphasized. However, ethnic pride and acculturation (or assimilation) are not mutually exclusive concepts. For example, it is possible for someone to have a high (or low) level of ethnic pride and also be more (or less) acculturated to mainstream American society. In some cultures, such as the Latino/a, African American, and Native Hawaiian cultures, there is a growing movement to embrace and be proud of one’s ethnicity and culture.
Ethnic pride can be increased through activities that promote empowerment and a positive feeling toward one’s ethnic group. This may be accomplished through exposure to ethnic role models, reading books, watching movies, traveling, eating ethnic foods, listening to music, and dancing.
Ethnic pride has been examined in relation to various health and academic outcomes. In general, however, there is a relative dearth of information in this area, and additional research is needed. Overall, these studies have found that high levels of ethnic pride are associated with a greater knowledge of health risks and less favorable attitudes toward smoking; among African American fourth graders, high levels of ethnic pride are associated with high academic achievement scores in school and standardized tests. Other research has found that high levels of ethnic pride are associated with less drug use and exposure among African American, Mexican American, and mixed ethnicity students, while high levels of ethnic pride are associated with more drug use among White students. In sum, these studies point to the important role of ethnic pride in physical, psychological, and academic outcomes.
- Ma, G. X., Shive, S. E., Tan, Y., Toubbeh, J. I., Fang, C. Y., & Edwards, R. L. (2005). Tobacco use, secondhand smoke exposure and their related knowledge, attitudes and behaviors among Asian Americans. Addictive Behaviors, 30(4), 725-740.
- Marsiglia, F. F., Kulis, S., & Hecht, M. L. (2001). Ethnic label and ethnic identity as predictors of drug use among middle school students in the southwest. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 11(1), 21-18.
- Phinney, J. (1992). The Multi-Group Ethnic Identity Measure: A new scale for use with adolescents and young adults from diverse groups. Journal of Adolescent Research, 7, 156-176.
- Smith, E. P., Atkins, J., & Connell, C. M. (2003). Family, school and community factors and relationships to racial-ethnic attitudes and academic achievement. American Journal of Community Psychology, 32(1/2), 159-173.
- Vazquez, C. I. (2004). Parenting with pride—Latino style. New York: Rayo.